Right about now, the top-notch NFL rookies are sitting at home, packing their bags and calculating money lost in interest while they hold out. They're also wondering how great they can be in their first NFL season. For the best players, the question isn't will they make the squad, it's will they start right away or have to beat out a gaggle of savvy NFL vets.
But they're not the only ones playing strategist. Fans love a good position battle between some upstart and an aging player who is gripping a paycheck with his fingernails. These are the most captivating stories at training camp.
The same can be said for gamblers, especially ones who like to play the rookie of the year futures markets. To them, the obvious choice at the shortest odds is almost never the smart money. Remember last year: Knowshon Moreno was the 3-1 fave for Offensive ROY and Aaron Curry was the 4-1 choice for Defensive ROY. But the winners were Percy Harvin (8-1) and Brian Cushing (10-1).
Divining the right value for rookie of the year candidates requires historical knowledge of the game, an understanding of each team's system and, oh yeah, knowing who will be fighting for time and who will have the job handed to them. It's an ever-changing, magical formula in which you have to instinctively know how to weigh each category differently, depending on the candidate and the odds.